Friday, September 19, 2014
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2014.09.19 02:35:54

Islamic State fighters have seized 16 Kurdish villages in northern Syria in a major advance towards the city of Ayn al-Arab at the border with Turkey, a Kurdish military official and a group that tracks the civil war said on Thursday.

Ocalan Iso, a commander in Kurdish armed group YPG, told Reuters that Islamic State fighters were using heavy weapons including tanks in their attack near the city, known as Kobani in Kurdish.

Rami Abdulrahman, founder of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the villages had been seized in an Islamic State advance that started on Wednesday. "They have a large number of fighters," he told Reuters by phone.

  Syria | Islamic State
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2014.09.19 02:34:44

The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over war-torn eastern Ukraine will be discussed by the UN Security Council on Friday after Russia requested a meeting on a Dutch finding that a large number of fragments hit the plane and tore it apart.

Several foreign ministers are expected to attend the meeting to take place in the morning, diplomats said, since they were already scheduled to attend a Security Council debate on Iraq on Friday afternoon, chaired by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

The jetliner crashed in Ukraine in pro-Russian rebel-held territory on July 17, killing 298 people, two-thirds of them from the Netherlands. Ukraine and Western countries accuse the rebels of shooting it down with an advanced, Russian-made missile.

Russia has rejected accusations that it supplied the rebels with SA-11 Buk anti-aircraft missile systems.


  Ukraine | Russia | Malaysia | United States | John Kerry
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2014.09.19 02:24:37

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said US operation in Syria would only involve air strikes against ISIL, adding that US would support "moderate opposition" against the Assad regime.

In an address before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, US Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated President Barack Obama's statement that US troops will not be involved in ground operations in Iraq and Syria.

US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks about the operation against ISIL: Air strikes are "extremely effective"; Meeting of Arab leaders in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia "transformative."

Kerry added that "fundamental" policy on ISIL is to work with international partners; Says allies are asking how they can help in the operation against the "marauding" armed group that is "making a mockery of a peaceful religion."

Kerry's statement before the US Senate disrupted by a protester against more military operation in Iraq and Syria who shouted, "More invasion will not protect the homeland."

  Syria | Islamic State | United States | John Kerry | Iraq
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2014.09.19 02:06:33

US lawmakers voted to authorize training and arming of vetted Syrian rebels to combat Islamic State fighters, a crucial step in President Barack Obama's bid to thwart the self-declared jihadist group surging across Iraq and Syria.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 273 to 156 to approve Obama's train-and-equip plan despite misgivings by both Democrats and Republicans.

Some war-weary Democrats say the move could open the door to full-blown American military intervention in the Middle East. Conservative members are concerned that the plan falls short of what is needed to defeat the Islamic State group.

  Syria | Islamic State | United States | Iraq
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2014.09.18 02:31:40

US President Barack Obama on the possibility of another US ground invasion in Iraq to fight ISIL:

I want to be clear. The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission.

As your commander in chief I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq.

Obama has said that "if left unchecked" the armed group ISIL could pose a "growing threat" on the United States.

There will be "no safe haven" against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and vowed to keep on working with US allies and partners "to defeat" the armed Sunni group. US President Barack Obama has said

  Iraq | Islamic State | United States | Barack Obama
Comments 0 Hits: 262  

2014.09.18 02:28:38

Fierce gun-battles erupted around the Ukrainian rebel stronghold of Donetsk with two civilians killed just a day after lawmakers in Kiev held out an offer of self-rule to the pro-Russian separatists.

Heavy shelling has been reported on Wednesday around the flashpoint eastern industrial hub almost daily despite the warring sides signing up to a ceasefire deal almost two weeks ago.

Donetsk city hall said two civilians were killed near a market that lies just a few kilometers away from the battleground at the airport and was left in ruins by shelling earlier this week.


  Ukraine | Russia
Comments 0 Hits: 117  

2014.09.18 02:23:27

Reports say that 18 people have been killed in Iraq. The latest death toll includes seven people killed in a suicide attack on a bridge in Ramadi.

Comments 0 Hits: 172  

2014.09.18 02:21:53

Separatists in eastern Ukraine should fully observe provisions of the Minsk ceasefire agreement, US Vice President Joe Biden and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk have agreed.

In a telephone conversation late on Tuesday, Joe Biden and Arseniy Yatsenyuk agreed that Russia and Ukrainian separatists should do their part in immediately implementing all the provisions of the Minsk agreement, including "the removal of all Russian troops from Ukraine and the creation of a security area in the border regions" of Ukraine and Russia, according to a statement released by Biden's office.

The US and Ukraine continue accusing Russia of escalating the conflict in Ukraine and of supporting the independence fighters. Moscow denies these accusations.

[Russian media]

  Ukraine | Russia | United States | Joe Biden
Comments 0 Hits: 135  

2014.09.18 02:12:11

At least 15 children have reportedly died after receiving vaccinations in rebel-held parts of Syria.

The children, some just babies, all exhibited signs of "severe allergic shock" about an hour after they were given a second round of measles vaccinations in Idlib province on Tuesday, with many suffocating to death as their bodies swelled, physician Abdullah Ajaj, who administered the vaccinations in a medical center in the town of Jarjanaz, told the Associated Press.

The Syrian National Coalition said it had suspended the vaccination campaign. In a statement, it said the vaccines used met international standards and did not say what may have caused the deaths.

The UN children's agency is "waiting to receive more clarification on the facts," said UNICEF spokeswoman Juliette Touma.

Comments 0 Hits: 133  

2014.09.18 02:11:20

Iraqi military source said on Wednesday that 28 gunmen from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group were killed in an Iraqi air raid at al-Siniya airbase near the Iraqi city of Tikrit.

The strike reportedly killed Arab nationals, injured 13 others and destroyed military vehicles, according to an Arabic news report posted on Sky News Arabia.

  Iraq | Islamic State
Comments 0 Hits: 85  

2014.09.18 02:10:02

Ukrainian activists have thrown a member of parliament, Vitaliy Zhuravskyi, into a rubbish bin, near Kiev's parliamentary building.

According to the Russian ITAR-Tass news agency, Zhuravskyi was an adviser to the country's pro-Russian former president Viktor Yanukovych who was overthrown earlier this year after months of anti-government protests.

Activists blamed Zhuravskyi of authorizing a controversial defamation law, which journalists said was restricting the country's media freedom.


Comments 0 Hits: 70  

2014.09.18 02:02:00

Support for ISIL has grown since the US launched air strikes in Iraq and the group is attracting many new fighters, top US officials say.

ISIL's "widespread use of social media and growing online support intensified following the commencement of US air strikes in Iraq," FBI head James Comey told the House Homeland Security Committee.

The number of "jihadist fighters" in Syria and Iraq is now between 20,000 and 31,000, said Matthew Olsen, who leads the National Counter-terrorism Center. Olsen said the Islamic State group had "very sophisticated propaganda" which "exceeds" that from other groups.


  Syria | Islamic State | United States | Iraq
Comments 0 Hits: 223  

2014.09.18 02:00:50

The Czech Defense Ministry said it has signed a deal with Iraq to provide training to 31 helicopter pilots from the Iraqi air force.

The ministry said the training in the Czech city of Pardubice will take 12 months and is scheduled to start early next year.

The ministry has already agreed to sell to Iraq 15 Czech-made L-159 light combat planes, and the Czech government has approved a plan to provide the Kurdish military with 500 metric tons of ammunition to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant armed group.

The delivery of the ammunition begins Thursday. [AP]

Comments 0 Hits: 65  

2014.09.18 01:59:52

Ukrainian riot police fired tear gas on a group of about 200 demonstrators protesting outside parliament to demand the adoption of a so-called lustration law.

At least one activist from the Right Sector nationalist group was injured in the brief clashes, which saw protesters - some masked - set tyres ablaze in Kiev.

Lawmakers agreed - after several failed attempts - to adopt a law aimed at purging government officials accused of corruption or links to the old pro-Kremlin regime.


Comments 0 Hits: 66  

2014.09.18 01:48:43

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abbadi has said that foreign ground troops are "not necessary" in fight against the armed group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Abbadi also said that Iran's absence from Paris meeting on fighting ISIL is "puzzling."

  Iraq | Islamic State | Iran
Comments 0 Hits: 51  

2014.09.18 01:37:05

A US businessman has acknowledged conspiring to illegally export chemical warfare detection devices and lab equipment to Syria.

Harold Rinko, of Hallstead, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Scranton. He faces up to five years in prison.

Sanctions imposed by the US in 2004 banned all exports to Syria, except food and medicine. But authorities allege Rinko and two foreign citizens shipped goods to Syria through other countries for nine years.

Prosecutors say Rinko used his company as a front to acquire instruments that detect and classify chemical weapons.

The three men were charged in 2012. The status of the other two defendants was not immediately clear.

Investigators don't know who ultimately used the equipment in Syria, which is now engulfed in a civil war.


  Syria | United States
Comments 0 Hits: 74  

2014.09.17 03:50:10

More than 2,000 German mosques have invited Germans of all religions to join their Friday prayers to present a united front against ISIL to try to dissuade young Muslims from traveling to fight in Syria and Iraq.

Germany's four main Muslim groups announced their plan on Tuesday in response to concerns that German Muslims are joining ISIL and returning home with radical ideas and combat experience, posing a domestic security threat.

"We want to make clear terrorists and criminals do not speak in the name of Islam, they have trampled on the commandments of our religion, and that murderers and criminals have no place in our ranks, in our religion," the head of the Central Council of Muslims, Aiman Mazyek, said.

The groups are also organising peace rallies across Germany on the same day which senior officials, including Interior Minister de Maiziere and Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, are expected to attend.


  Syria | Islamic State | Germany | Iraq
Comments 0 Hits: 390  

2014.09.17 02:50:30

Kurdish peshmerga forces recaptured seven Christian villages in northern Iraq in clashes with ISIL group, an officer and a cleric said.

Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians, most of them Chaldeans, fled their homes when ISIL fighters launched a renewed drive in the north in early August.

[Source: AFP]

  Iraq | Islamic State
Comments 0 Hits: 137  

2014.09.17 02:49:27

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged countries that are capable to take decisive action against ISIL fighters, who have taken over large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

"I ... urge the international community, and those with the means, to act decisively and after sober reflection," Ban told reporters on the subject of Islamic State. "It is critical to keep at the forefront the protection of civilians."

[Source: Reuters]

  Iraq | Islamic State | Ban Ki-moon | Syria
Comments 0 Hits: 129  

2014.09.17 02:47:57

Iraq's national security adviser Faleh al-Fayad meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to talk about the threat of ISIL, Syrian State TV reports.

[Source: RTV]

  Iraq | Islamic State | Syria
Comments 0 Hits: 163  

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